The United Nations says the deal that has been signed after climate talks in Durban is historic.

Nearly 200 countries have signed the deal that will for the first time see all countries work towards a legal agreement on the climate by 2015. The agreement will come into force from 2020. The next commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has also survived, an issue which activists were particularly concerned about.

The sometimes heated talks at Durban’s ICC continued through the early hours, with the deal only signed at around 5am this morning.
UNFCCC head Christiana Figueres has described the deal as ‘landmark’ and ‘historic’, saying Durban has delivered what other countries have so far failed to.

The Green Climate Fund has also been launched, with several developed countries – including the UK and Norway – already committing money. The Fund will be crucial to developing countries, who need assistance in developing adaptation strategies as the climate changes.

The agreement has been described as a major achievement for South Africa. At times over the past two weeks it was thought no deal would be reached, and that the talks may have to be suspended. At one point, it was even suggested that it would be best to hold off for six months and then come back to the drawing board.

However, president of COP 17, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, managed to get all parties to come to the table and she held the negotiations together as tempers flared during yesterday’s marathon sessions. It is said that most countries are fairly happy with the outcome.

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